Winter is here and some of us procrastinated on getting new tires. Now the decision awaits snow tires or all-season tires? For most it depends on the temperature. A good rule of thumb is if the winter temperatures where you live are regularly below 45 degrees F, you should invest in a set of four snow tires. If you live in a place where it rarely snows and the winter temperatures are relatively mild, your all-season tires are probably fine.
All-season tires are built to handle a variety of road condition – dry, wet, and in many cases light snow. Winter tires are built specifically to perform in winter conditions like low temp, ice, slush and snow. The tread compound of all-season tires can harden in low temps, giving you less traction on the road. Winter tires use a special rubber compound that stay pliable in the cold, giving them a better grip to the extreme conditions. Winter tires also provide enhanced braking performance in snowy and icy conditions.
Don’t skimp on tire safety. Winter tires should only be installed in sets of four, regardless of whether your vehicles are front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Using two different tires can give your vehicle a split personality where the front and rear are not working together. For the best handling, control, and safety in cold-weather conditions, we strongly recommend using four winter tires.
Don’t leave on your winter tires all year. When used in warm weather, the softer rubber compound can wear out faster than the compound used in all-season tires. If you used your winter tires year-round, it could end up costing you more than switching between two sets of tires because they will need to be replaced more frequently.